EGP Ballot Recommendation for November 5, 2013

By EGP News

As a service to our readers, Eastern Group Publications has for the last thirty-four years made recommendations to our readers about candidates seeking office and an array of issues on local, county, state and national ballots.

We have tried to research the platforms and qualifications of the candidates EGP endorses. We have conducted lengthy interviews with many of the candidates, (not all of them make themselves available), and we have made an effort to assess how well a candidate’s qualifications prepare him or her for the position being sought. EGP has also gone to great lengths to try and assess the impact of policies, proposition, and positions favored by the candidates will have on their constituents.

Is it a foolproof process? No.

In this election cycle, EGP has been impressed by the depth of knowledge of some candidates, while sadly surprised by the lack of knowledge, not to mention familiarity, demonstrated by some of the candidates on issues that have or will come before them if elected.

While there is a learning curve when seeking office, we were distressed by the lack of specifics and clarity shown by some candidates for office. If you don’t do your homework when running, how can we believe you will do it when elected?

While we respect a genuine desire to be of public service, our role is to recommend those we believe are best suited for the office they are seeking.

 

Bell Gardens City Council 

Following years of often contentious and unnecessary squabbles that for a long time did more harm than good for the city’s image, the Bell Gardens City Council has for the most part always managed to put aside petty differences when it comes to getting down to city business.

How long will the new found civility on the council last? No one can say for sure, but the  present members of the City Council we believe have not only changed the image of the council but also of the city.

We were particularly impressed by the depth of knowledge on issues impacting the city by two of the incumbents up for reelection, Daniel Crespo and Priscilla Flores. Yes we have been critical of them in the past, now we believe they have proven themselves hardworking, knowledgeable and sincere about the affairs of their city, and have therefore garnered our endorsement for another term of office.

While Sergio Infanzon has demonstrated a strong interest in building strong leaders for the future, and has generously volunteered his time to that end, we are concerned that despite his years on the council he seems less able to outline specific goals and projects for the city than he can for broader initiatives such as helping so-called Dreamers legalize their status and getting them civically involved.

Those are desirable goals, but in the end, being on the city council is about the nuts and bolts of running a city. It’s about keeping the streets clean, parks open and bringing in new business. For those reasons, we are unable to endorse Infanzon for reelection.

 

Montebello Unified School District 

Probably one of most difficult elected offices to hold is school board member.

The treatment and education of our children is often a volatile issue. Parents, educators, activists and leaders of industry and nearly every cause, all want the best education possible for the students in the district. They don’t always agree, however, on how to go about it.

The Montebello Unified School District is the third largest district in the county. And while efforts to reshape and reform education have swept the country, giving rise to charter schools, pilot schools, independent learning academies, and more students being home schooled, MUSD has managed to avoid many of those outcomes by incorporating those educational strategies into its programming. The district has increased the number of dual immersion programs offered, it is including career pathways across the district and has opened a high school specifically designed to help students interested in career and technical studies. The continuation and adult schools are helping many students who would have been left behind get a second chance to succeed, and many are. The district has taken the issue of bullying head on, and supported social programs that shows it understands academic success is not achieved in a vacuum.

Do they do everything perfectly? No.  Is there room for growth and improvement? Of course.

The race this time around is more confusing than usual. Four seats are up for grabs on the board. On one of the ballot questions, voters are being asked to select three members for the board. On the other ballot question, they are being asked to select one member for the board. Two of the current council members were appointed to fill vacancies caused when one member died and another was elected to the assembly.

For the first election, calling for the selection of three members, we recommend the reelection of Hector Chacon and Gerri Guzman. We believe they deserve credit for helping to set the policies that have allowed the positive work in the district to flourish. We also recommend the election of Ben Cardenas, who was appointed to the board. We are impressed with how quickly he has started to bring resources to the district and his understanding of funding and other issues the district faces. We urge a yes vote for Cardenas.

As for the fourth seat up for grabs, we believe a change is warranted. We feel the appointed incumbent, Paul Montoya, has failed to demonstrate any new initiative or a very good understanding about how to implement strategies to help the district. He seems unclear about his role on the board, despite being in the position for two years.

So, for the special election, our endorsement goes to Edgar Cisneros, who we believe has demonstrated an understanding of what it takes to bring resources to the district. We feel that he will add new insight and energy to the board.

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October 24, 2013  Copyright © 2012 Eastern Group Publications, Inc.

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